Orange Co. paid sick-time issue to go on 2014 ballot


ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County voters will get to decide the issue of paid sick time for county workers after county commissioners voted to put the question on the ballot in 2014.

Last fall, commissioners decided not to put the issue on the November ballot, only to have a three-judge panel order them to do just that.

Supporters of the sick-time measure thought there might be a showdown at County Commission, not over sending the issue to voters, as judges ordered, but over the wording of the question.

Commissioner Ted Edwards said language in the referendum question was misleading and should be changed.

But Mayor Teresa Jacobs argued changing the language, which was on the petition signed by more than 50,000 people, would be "suspect."

"We were expecting a little bit of a heated discussion over whether to put this on, even though the judges did rule that the county needs to put this on the ballot," said Maria McCluskey of Organize Florida. "We expected a few more Ted Edwardses. Luckily, he was a lone voice and the rest of the board decided to do what is right for Orange County citizens."

So sick time goes to voters next year, but supporters of the measure say it's only a first step as they anticipate heavy opposition from business owners who claim the measure's a job-killer.